Hispanic-Serving School District Administrator of the Year

Dr. Samuel D. Sarabia

Chief School Officer, Houston Independent School District
4400 West 18th St.
Houston, TX 77092-8501
(713) 556-6000

Dr. Samuel Sarabia began his career in education in 1987 as a 3rd grade bilingual teacher in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Texas.  His 8-year teaching experience spanned bilingual and special education settings.  Recognized as an instructional leader, Dr. Sarabia began his administrative career in 1995 as an assistant principal, and soon after, as principal in HISD.  During his tenure as principal of Oran M. Roberts Elementary School, Dr. Sarabia led his school to being one of the first three fully authorized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme schools in Texas.  Dr. Sarabia’s teaching and leadership abilities were recognized in Teacher and Principal of the Year honors at the campus and district levels. 

Having demonstrated exceptional leadership abilities, Dr. Sarabia was recruited to a district leadership position of executive principal where he supervised elementary, middle, and high schools within a school feeder pattern.  After serving as executive principal, he was promoted to regional superintendent where he was responsible for ensuring the academic growth and success of more than 32,700 students and overseeing the daily management of 44 campuses. Dr. Sarabia was then appointed to the role of Chief Elementary School Officer in 2010.  For 2 years, Dr. Sarabia oversaw over 103, 000 students in all 179 HISD elementary schools.  Currently, Dr. Sarabia is one of three Chief Elementary School Officers, supervising nearly 50,000 students in 57 schools. 

In his role of Chief Elementary School Officer, Dr. Sarabia is charged with leading comprehensive district-wide school improvement efforts, such as the expansion of dual language schools.  Under his direction on an HISD working group, Dr. Sarabia led the efforts to increase the number of dual language schools from 14 in 2013 to more than double with 57 schools in the 2015-16 school year.  In addition to his improvement efforts, Dr. Sarabia has been instrumental in coaching and developing new leaders, as evidenced by the 10 individuals that have been promoted to Superintendent and/or cabinet level positions under his supervision and mentorship. 

Dr. Sarabia earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts at the University of St. Thomas and his Master’s and Doctorate of Education Degrees in School Administration at the University of Houston. Currently Dr. Sarabia is the President of the ALAS Texas affiliate, the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS).